Bob Massie

Beginning a new form of expression

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2009 at 11:30 am

Over the past few months I have been experimenting with writing things for different blogs and social networks and I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that I had accumulated a fair amount of stuff in a relatively short amount of time — but it is dispersed all over the Internet.   I wrote several comments leading up to the election that were circulated; I wrote a blog entry for Harvard Business Review; I wrote a short opinion piece on energy efficiency that ran in the Boston Globe (and on several blogs, in slightly different versions).   

Then my sons  gave me a book on blogging for Christmas and I thought – hey, why not?  Let’s put this material somewhere in the same place.   I have another website at, but that was designed several years to give our friends and relations insight into the on-going medical saga that I am slogging through.   I don’t think that people who are checking that site really want to know about my views on theology or politics or sustainability or education or corporate governance or the other issues that I find myself thinking about.   And I don’t think that someone reading about those issues necessarily wants to be dragged through the tediousness of my long wait for a liver transplant (you can read up on it if you like).   

In addition, it seems that Facebook is really for lighter fare — a couple of times I posted things there that seem to run counter to the very entertaining quips and personal details that I have enjoyed.   

So what to do?  The light bulb finally went off — start yet ANOTHER way to communicate online.   It seemed excessive at first — how many avenues does one person need — but then again it seemed worth an experiment.

Thus I am launching myself out into the deep, not knowing what I may pull out of the sea.

Before I sign off, a comment about the title:

I chose “What’s the Big Idea?” because of the nice double entendre.   I love big ideas and I hope to be writing about them.  And I also have a long, long, long history of raising questions in places and venues where they have not always been welcome, at least at first, thus eliciting this indignant response.  So you can take the title in other way — as my desire to point to new thoughts in this amazing world of ours or my belief that some questions need to be discussed even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like the perfectly right time or place.   

Let the experiment begin…

And please tell me what you think!

  1. Bob, I found your blog from a link on facebook. Welcome to the world of online communication, where you can have both a larger and more integrated community than “meatspace” allows, while simultaneously feeling like your world is more fragmented and compartmentalized. I myself have at least four different centers for online communication — facebook, for interactions with real life friends and acquaintances; presence on alumni networking sites for MIT; a blog for discussing my mental health struggles from a Christian perspective and providing support to other people in similar situations; and a blog for my political thoughts, especially in regard to race, sex, religion, and class — in addition to myriad nicknames and handles for niche purposes (handcraft sites, bookswapping sites, etc. etc.). A separate blog for “Big Ideas” is hardly excessive.

  2. Thanks, Benazeer. I am really a relic from a different age – I first used a computer (Apple IIe) when I was 28 years old (back in 1984); I purchased my first IBM “portable computer” when I enrolled at Harvard Business School. It had an 8088 processor with two 512K floppy drives, weighed 30 lbs, cost $3,600 (in 1984 dollars!) and had no hard drive! When I put in a hard drive the following year to write my dissertation at Harvard, I paid $1100 for 20 (twenty) megabytes. I was able to benefit from the Internet and the creation of e-mail in creating the Global Reporting Initaitive, which enabled global cooperation and a cycle time of weeks rather than months. Now, with blogging, I first thought like a person who should submit material to an editor for a print magazine, but then I realized it was more like sending a long e-mail to a lot of friends who then choose whether they want to read it. That, I can do! Thanks for the support.

  3. Welcome to the Blogosphere, Bob! I look forward to your future posts. By the way, one word…


  4. Wow, you have been reading the book we gave you! I think this a great format to try out — better than relying on facebook or email lists.

  5. Great to see you blogging! I’m bookmarking your site right now! 😀

  6. Hey–how do I get a purple splotch next to my posts?

  7. Sam – I am not only reading your book but I got a second one. But now I have to finish reading them both

    Leslie – you have a green blotch! That’s pretty great, you environmentalist you.

  8. Bob:

    I think launching a blog is an excellent idea and I look forward to reading it regularly! We see each other all too rarely. One question, I did not see a subscriber function. Did I just miss that? Anyway, if it would be possible to be alerted every time you post a new entry, that would be great.

    Good luck sailing!


  9. As one who lives in the South, in a thoroughly Republican state, I would like to add that part of Obama’s success was that he carried Southern states that had been solidly Democratic. In some ways I think that is more threatening to the Republicans than other factors. And it may be interesting to reflect on whether the lack of a prominent Southerner on the Republican ticket contributed to their defeat in those Southern states.

  10. Bob,

    I am always drawn to people who are worldly and wise. My favorite among them are those who enjoy, value, and understand history, especially American History! You are one of my of most favorite!

    Be invited to read your blog, is an honor!

    Not only have I bookmarked your site, your on the toolbar.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight.

    All the best,


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